Saturday, May 8, 2010

About Winnipeg and the Snakes

I'm posting this from Winnipeg, where I've come to visit some family for the weekend.  Winnipeg is also known as 'Winterpeg' (for good reason as it has an average winter temperature of -23 C (-9 F) ) , so it's definitely a good thing I'm visiting in the spring.

This was how I entertained myself while I was waiting for the plane.  Do you see the man in the lower left corner of the photo wearing a red hoodie and a green vest.  

Here's a close-up of what he was doing - playing with a yo-yo!  Too funny. 

When I got to Winnipeg there were relatives to visit, including a sweet little niece that gave me a dandelion.

Today we went to the Narcisse Snake dens to see the red-sided garter snakes that over-winter in limestone pits in the ground and every spring they emerge by the thousands to mate and then leave to go to their summer grounds.  They were only just starting to come out of hibernation but we did get to see some snakes and even some clusters of mating snakes.  

I'm not a real fan of snakes but I have to say it was very interesting.   I've read about these snake pits and always wanted to see them.   I did attach a couple of photos of the snakes but I didn't want to scare anyone.

There were hiking trails to follow between the four snake pits,

and snakes to hold,

and aspen trees with their leaves just emerging,

and an unusual basket-type bird nest to see.

A lovely day catching up with the relatives and the snakes.


  1. I almost didn't open this post Grace, and there were places I had to look away...I'm absolutely terrified of snakes...which isn't very useful when you live in Australia!

  2. Grace I have to agree with Kerry! I had to close my eyes to scroll down or else I would literally puke! I detest snakss so much especially garter snakes the most. I remember reading about this migration snake thing a few years back and almost passed out yuke! My number one fear. The last place we lived in Niagara was Ridgeway (Fort Erie) and I would walk Pilot on the Friendship trail and it would be littered with snakes and turtles...I don't know how I did it! You are so brave going there!!!!
    You could not pay me to live there !!!!!!

  3. Grace,
    I'm with Kerry and Pamela on this. I'm not particularly fond of snakes and I really would not want to hold one. But I read a poem once, 'Snake', by D. H. Lawrence, that makes me want to try to like them! (I looked up the poem on Google): The speaker comes across a snake and reflects, "The voice of my education said to me /He must be killed". But he thinks about it and decides to let him live: "I confess how I liked him,/ How glad I was he had come like a guest in quiet, to drink at my water-trough". The poem ends though with the speaker killing the snake!He feels really bad about it: "And immediately I regretted it./ I thought how paltry, how vulgar, what a mean act! / I despised myself and the voices of my accursed human education."

    A poem about snakes! My gift to you, Grace, on Mother's Day!

  4. I love the yo-yo photo! That is very funny!

  5. I hate snakes, too and when I was in Winnipeg I considered visiting the dens. They are very interesting apparently.

  6. I live in Winnipeg and I've never been to Narcisse. Yes, it's because I'm afraid of the snakes. Hope you enjoyed it!

  7. Well I have to say it was very interesting seeing the snakes and it really wasn't too scary because they have gravel paths to walk on so you can see where the snakes are.

  8. Most snakes are not poisonous and will not hurt you. They kill a lot of rodents that would probably over run an area if not for the snakes. Snakes really get a bad rap from most people and many people think if they see one that they have to kill it. We have a black snake and a garden snake that come through our yard often. They are more frightened of us than we are of them. They are really fasinating creatures that serve a purpose and if people would take the time to really learn about them they might not be so fearful.